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On Being with Krista Tippett is a public radio project delving into the human side of news stories + issues. Curated + edited by senior editor Trent Gilliss.

We publish guest contributions. We edit long; we scrapbook. We do big ideas + deep meaning. We answer questions.

We've even won a couple of Webbys + a Peabody Award.

There are some songs that just break your heart. This live performance of “The World Unseen” (from this week’s show with Rosanne Cash) is one of those songs.

Beautiful.

The first line, “I’m the sparrow on the roof,” is from the Psalms. And in the last few months of my dad’s life, I read Psalms — the Psalms to him. And I don’t think I ever realized how poetic the Psalms were. And then this line about being a sparrow on the roof just killed me. So after my dad died, I wanted to start the song that way. 

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Ever wondered what transcendence looks like?
This gorgeous moment came up in an image search for “creeds.” She’s dancing with a group of druids, pagans and revellers at a winter solstice ceremony at Stonehenge.
Reminds me of this well-loved piece we published on paganism in Ireland.
(Photo by Matt Cardy/Getty Images)

Ever wondered what transcendence looks like?

This gorgeous moment came up in an image search for “creeds.” She’s dancing with a group of druids, pagans and revellers at a winter solstice ceremony at Stonehenge.

Reminds me of this well-loved piece we published on paganism in Ireland.

(Photo by Matt Cardy/Getty Images)

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"The Church Trap" at the 2013 Burning Man Festival. An old church-shaped structure is poised to catch people sitting in its pews or playing its organ.
A perfect image to lead Martin Marty’s piece on how Christians exaggerate their attendance at church when talking to surveyors on the phone rather than when taking an online poll.
Photo by Mack Reed

"The Church Trap" at the 2013 Burning Man Festival. An old church-shaped structure is poised to catch people sitting in its pews or playing its organ.

A perfect image to lead Martin Marty’s piece on how Christians exaggerate their attendance at church when talking to surveyors on the phone rather than when taking an online poll.

Photo by Mack Reed

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All others talked as if
talk were a dance.
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Denise Levertov, from "Caedmon"

Thanks to Phip Ross for sending me this lovely poem.

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The universe is full of magical things patiently waiting for our wits to grow sharper.
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Eden Phillpotts, “A Shadow Passes.”

A listener shared this quote (commonly misattributed to W. B. Yeats) inspired by our show with social psychologist Ellen Langer.

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To be a poor man is hard, but to be a poor race in a land of dollars is the very bottom of hardships.
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W.E.B. Du Bois, from The Souls of Black Folk

A powerful opening to an important book. 

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We have many, many studies that suggest that the limits we assume are real are artificial, and that we don’t have to accept them at all.
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There are a few moments from behind the glass that stop us dead in our tracks — times during an interview when a wise voice creates a new opportunity to hear something differently. To challenge a conceit. To envelop the listener in the womb of silent storytelling and place one in a position of listening profundity.

Vincent Harding was one of those men. He’ll be missed, and this story will stay with me till the end of my days.

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Poetry prevents everybody from feeling lonely.
- Nikki Giovanni, from The Read Around
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The more we persist in misunderstanding the phenomena of life…the more we involve ourselves in sadness, absurdity, and despair. But it does not matter much, because no despair of ours can alter the reality of things, or stain the joy of the cosmic dance which is always there. Indeed, we are in the midst of it, and it is in the midst of us, for it beats in our very blood, whether we want it to or not. Yet the fact remains that we are invited to forget ourselves on purpose, cast our awful solemnity to the winds, and join in the general dance.
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Thomas Merton, from New Seeds of Contemplation

Picked up this killer quotation from a comment on our Facebook page. People are amazing.

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There are three kinds of patriots, two bad, one good. The bad are the uncritical lovers and the loveless critics. Good patriots carry on a lover’s quarrel with their country.
- William Sloane Coffin
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Stunning visualization of tikkun olam from German artist Anselm Kiefer. Sent to us from a listener, reminded by our show on Kabbalah. Here is a beautiful telling of tikkun olam by Rachel Naomi Remen: 


In the beginning there was only the holy darkness, the Ein Sof, the source of life. And then, in the course of history, at a moment in time, this world, the world of a thousand, thousand things, emerged from the heart of the holy darkness as a great ray of light. And then, perhaps because this is a Jewish story, there was an accident, and the vessels containing the light of the world, the wholeness of the world, broke. And the wholeness of the world, the light of the world was scattered into a thousand, thousand fragments of light, and they fell into all events and all people, where they remain deeply hidden until this very day.
Now, according to my grandfather, the whole human race is a response to this accident. We are here because we are born with the capacity to find the hidden light in all events and all people, to lift it up and make it visible once again and thereby to restore the innate wholeness of the world. It’s a very important story for our times. And this task is called tikkun olam in Hebrew. It’s the restoration of the world.


(via the St. Louis Art Museum)

Stunning visualization of tikkun olam from German artist Anselm Kiefer. Sent to us from a listener, reminded by our show on Kabbalah. Here is a beautiful telling of tikkun olam by Rachel Naomi Remen: 

In the beginning there was only the holy darkness, the Ein Sof, the source of life. And then, in the course of history, at a moment in time, this world, the world of a thousand, thousand things, emerged from the heart of the holy darkness as a great ray of light. And then, perhaps because this is a Jewish story, there was an accident, and the vessels containing the light of the world, the wholeness of the world, broke. And the wholeness of the world, the light of the world was scattered into a thousand, thousand fragments of light, and they fell into all events and all people, where they remain deeply hidden until this very day.

Now, according to my grandfather, the whole human race is a response to this accident. We are here because we are born with the capacity to find the hidden light in all events and all people, to lift it up and make it visible once again and thereby to restore the innate wholeness of the world. It’s a very important story for our times. And this task is called tikkun olam in Hebrew. It’s the restoration of the world.

(via the St. Louis Art Museum)

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The texture of this screen wall combined with the thoughtful pose and determined stride of this woman are compositionally fantastic. Perfect image to lead a commentary on Barbara Ehrenreich’s new memoir.

The texture of this screen wall combined with the thoughtful pose and determined stride of this woman are compositionally fantastic. Perfect image to lead a commentary on Barbara Ehrenreich’s new memoir.

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Men do not get assassinated for wanting children of different colors to hold hands on a mountainside. He was telling us to march on segregated housing, segregated schools, poverty, a military with more support than social programs. That’s where he was in 1965. If we let him go where he was going, then he becomes a challenge, not a comfort.
- Dr. Vincent Harding, from a 2005 lecture as quoted in The New York Times
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The Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art academic building is seen in Manhattan’s Cooper Square in New York City. The modern glass and steel building with concave facade was designed by architect Thom Mayne of the Los Angeles-based Morphosis and is heralded as one of Manhattan’s newest architectural marvels.
Photo by Mario Tama / Getty Images

The Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art academic building is seen in Manhattan’s Cooper Square in New York City. The modern glass and steel building with concave facade was designed by architect Thom Mayne of the Los Angeles-based Morphosis and is heralded as one of Manhattan’s newest architectural marvels.

Photo by Mario Tama / Getty Images

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